Tuesday, May 17, 2022

NSW consumers asked not to buy tickets through Viagogo

Viagogo is once again in the NSW Government’s sights with a new public warning being issued amid ongoing complaints from frustrated consumers regarding the Switzerland-based ticket reseller.

Minister for Fair Trading Eleni Petinos said the public warning comes as NSW Fair Trading alleges Viagogo has breached the Fair Trading Act (1987) and Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

“When it comes to transactions between Australian-based consumers and off-shore businesses, I urge consumers to heed our warnings and refrain from doing business with  companies such as Viagogo that refuse to comply with Australian law,” Ms Petinos said.

“Since June 2018, consumers have lodged 510 complaints against Viagogo with NSW Fair Trading, with many involving tickets being sold at hugely inflated prices.”

“There have also been complaints that Viagogo issued consumers with fraudulent or fake tickets, failed to supply consumers with tickets purchased and issued tickets that differed to those advertised or purchased.”

Recent complaints include cases of consumers paying:

·       $287 for two tickets to Paw Patrol when the face value of the tickets was $29, or $58 for two.

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·       $356 for two tickets to an event at the Sydney Comedy Festival for which the face value of the tickets was $32.90, or $65.80 for two.

·       $707 for four tickets to The Wiggles when the face value of the tickets was $43.70 each, or $174.80 for four.

Ms Petinos said Viagogo refused to meet with NSW Fair Trading to discuss the matters in late 2021. The company also said it could not release details of 15 specific transactions requested by NSW Fair Trading in a statutory notice to provide information, citing Swiss law.

“The current investigation shows that despite commitments made by Viagogo it is apparent this practice of offering tickets for sale at prices way above their original cost continues to be facilitated through its website,” Ms Petinos said.

“Other complaints have alleged Viagogo made false or misleading representations about being an authorised ticket seller for certain events.

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“Viagogo has also failed to specify, in a prominent way, a single price for tickets advertised for sale.”

In NSW, ticket sellers are prohibited from reselling a ticket for more than 10 per cent above the original price for an event held in the state.

If a ticket is sold for more than the allowed cap, the event organiser may cancel the ticket and refuse entry to the person who holds it.

Corporations found breaching ticket reselling laws can be fined up to $110,000, while individuals can be fined up to $22,000.

NSW Fair Trading announced in July 2021 Viagogo was under investigation for potential breaches of the Fair Trading Act and ACL.

NSW Fair Trading previously issued a public warning against Viagogo in August 2017.

Anyone who has dealt with Viagogo and is not satisfied with their interaction is encouraged to lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading at https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/help-centre/online-tools/make-a-complaint or on 13 32 20.

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